Technology Weblogging

Bad Webloggers. Bad.

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

As you can see, I’m still getting pingbacks, even with removing the link to the pingback server from my page header. The reason for this, most likely, is because in the WordPress code somewhere, my site is responding affirmatively to an XML-RPC request, and the pingback is then sent. I’ve since moved the xmlrpc.php file elsewhere, though this means I can’t remotely post for now. But I rarely do anyway.

The pingbacks are from a post that Jonathon Delacour wrote on the recent trackback and nofollow issues, over at Writable Web, the new weblog he’s writing in conjuction with Marius Coomans. In this writing, Jonathon provides a nicely done comparison of pingbacks and trackbacks and how the two have become somewhat synonymous in most webloggers minds, primarily because of trackback autodiscovery. He also covers the new nofollow attribute, automatic addition of in weblog tools such as TypePad has led the spammers this last week to basically hit webloggers across the nose with a rolled up newspaper, going “Bad, webloggers. Bad.”

In the meantime, here’s a surefire method of preventing comment spam:

Open up robots.txt, or create one, and add the following two lines:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

It could take a couple of months, but eventually you’ll find you’ll have no more comment spam. Of course, you’ll have no Google or other search engine pagerank, either. But why bleed pagerank out of the weblogs slowly with nofollow, when we can do it quickly with robots.txt?

Seriously, bite the bullet, cut the cord, and be comment spam free. Isn’t this what everyone wants?

Semantics Social Media Weblogging

Introducing Tagback

Recovered from the Wayback Machine (includes comments).

The purpose of Trackback initially was to ping the readers of another’s post about something they may want to know about. Of course, we immediately started using it as a referrer link (“Hi, I linked to you!”)

So, we’re dropping trackback and we need something in its place. I provided the how-tos to add Blogline citations and Technorati links in the previous post, and these will provide you a listing of who has linked to the article directly. But that’s the limitation: these solutions are dependent on a link. How can we point a person’s readers to another post or article, without linking to the post directly?

Easy: Tagback.

For each post, I create a tagback consisting of the words of of my individual post, stripped of white space and dashes, preceded by ‘bb’ to differentiate my posts from other people’s posts. I also include a link to the Technorati tags page for this tag, which forms my ‘tagback’. You can see the tagback for this post at the end.

Now, you can either use the tag with a photo in flickr, or you can use it in to annotate any bookmark: your post, another person’s post, an article, a reference to a specification, whatever.

Since Technorati scarfs up delicious tags and flickr tags, all of these items will eventually appear in my Tagback page, along with weblog posts where people have linked to the tag directly in the post. And if Technorati excludes googlebots and other bots in the tags pages, thereby denying any pagerank to the tag pages, there is no incentive for spammers to spam this page.

As long as Technorati denies pagerank for the individual tag pages. Hint. Hint.

Now, regardless of what weblogging tool you use, including Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type, Typepad, ExpressionEngine, whatever, you can participate in discussions, and without having to install any code. Just use whatever tags or function calls you use in your weblogging tool to get the title, and create your own version of a tagback. Or you can manually create a tag for each post you’re interested in designating as a ‘to be discussed’ item, and leave it off from those posts you don’t want to create a tagback page for.

So, you guys were right – tags are handy. I could get the hang of this folksonomy stuff.

I did have to update the code to strip out dashes, and just create a one word tag. I don’t like it, but flickr can’t deal with dashes, and it seems like wants to use spaces, and Technorati seems to not care. Since there is no standardized word delimiter with all of these systems, I just stripped out anything that isn’t a alphanumeric character.


Daily hits via Technorati

Through Technorati I found a post where Roland Tanglao referenced my post on trackback being dead. There was a discussion in comments about Technorati opening up Watchlists and API queries.


I then created a watchlist of my base URL,, which you can access directly with this URL. This returns an RSS feed of the watchlist for the entire weblog — a watchlist being all links to my weblog on any specific day.

I took my old Backtrack application, which used to backtrack trackbacks and print out who else has trackbacked a specific post, and modified it to consume the RSS that Technorati provides, instead. I then posted a link to this at the top of my sidebar, and you can also check it out here.

If you want to do the same, create a watchlist for your weblog, copy the source code for Backtrack, and then modify the look and feel to match whatever you want. You’ll want to leave the PHP bits in the body alone, except to replace my watchlist URL with your own.

This will give you a list of links to your weblog, tracked by Technorati, on a daily basis. The question remains, though, how this alternative to trackbacks will scale, because Technorati is a centralized service, and one that can get sloggy at times.

Update: to add Technorati and Bloglines links to your posts

I’ve added Technorati and Bloglines links to each of my posts.

For WordPress, the Technorati link is:

<a href=”<?php echo get_permalink() ?>” >Technorati Links</a>

If you’re not using WordPress, you’ll need to replace the function call to print out the permalink with whatever your tool supports. Just see what the tool uses for your permalink and copy this into the placeholder of the Technorati link.

For Bloglines citations (thanks to Dare for pointing this out):

<a href=”<?php echo get_permalink() ?>&submit=Search” >Bloglines Citation</a>

Again, replace the WordPress permalink function call for whatever your tool uses.

These will return the links, in Technorati or in Bloglines, for a specific post. Now, Bloglines was just bought out by Ask Jeeves, so who knows how long this functionality will last. And I’m sure someone somewhere is about to buy out Technorati, so ditto. But might as well make use of the functionality for now.